Monday, January 13, 2014

Pilgrimage - A Book About a Visit to the Holy Lands and Spiritual Renewal by Lynn Austin

Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin
Pilgrimage:
My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked
  • Written by Lynn Austin
  • Published by Bethany House Publishing, November 5, 2013
  • Paperback, English Language, 240 pages
  • Publishers List Price - $14.99
  • You can Find Lynn Austin's Website at lynnaustin.org
  • Lynn Austin also has a Facebook Page, and a GoodReads Page 
  • Purchase Paperbook or eBook from Bethany House
It is easy to be a Christian when I am in church because I am sitting in the presence of the Lord and in communion with faithful people - but Christianity is more than that.  It has to go beyond the pews and overflow into my life.  The life where people cut me off in traffic and my children sass back at me.  The life where illness, sorrow, pain, stress, and man's inhumanity to man is on full display. 

How can I pull this off?  I try to cultivate a healthy interior life - one where I seek God in everything and keep a running dialogue with Him.  A Healthy interior is an important part of spiritual life.  The closer my heart and mind are to God, the easier it is to live a life that is truly Christian.  A life where I love Him easily and with all my heart.  When I am acutely aware of the huge amounts of grace and mercy that have been given to me it allows me to love my fellow man and to live a more selfless life despite the things I mentioned earlier.

Unfortunately, there are times in life when it seems like no matter how hard I try - not matter what  I do - that serenity and peace is always just beyond my grasp.  My prayers seem rote, God feels distant, and I feel more like a spectator than a participant in life.

Lynn Austin was going though a similar period of spiritual dryness when she was presented with an opportunity to visit the Holy Land.  These times are difficult for everyone, but I think it may be especially hard for a person who people look up to.  Lynn writes Biblical historical fiction and has sold over one million books worldwide.  She has even won eight Christy awards for her writing.  In addition to her malaise she was carrying feelings of guilt and an inability to confess her problem for fear it might make her appear ungrateful considering her many blessings.

The trip was like spiritual CPR.  It wasn't her first visit, but she did see many of the sights with new eyes.  Ms. Austin writes not only about the places and the sights, but the significance of the places in history.  She shares personal stories and quotes from Scripture.  We are reminded of Old Testament writing and invited to wonder about how early Christians may have felt or reacted.  

I enjoyed reading her excellent descriptions and heart felt feelings.  It may be as close as I ever come to experiencing this trip myself so I felt a deep appreciation for her wisdom, insight and her candor.

In addition to the Scripture used for discussion in the chapters, each one begins with a selected Bible quote that captures the essence of what will be covered in the pages that follow.  Each section closes with a prayer.

There are twelve chapters in all:
  1. Leaving Home and Ho-Hum
  2. The Wilderness of Zin
  3. The Judean Wilderness
  4. Crossing the Jordan
  5. Jerusalem
  6. The Temple Mount
  7. Holy Week
  8. The Judean Countryside
  9. Galilee
  10. The Far North
  11. Sabbath Rest
  12. Going Home
The book ends on a positive note, and it is very encouraging for anyone who may find themselves in a spiritual rut.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.
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